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A 12-week healthy living programme piloted in community mental health – is it feasible and what is achievable?

Amanda Wheeler, Samantha Caldwell


The physical health outcomes of people with mental illness are significantly poorer compared to the normal population. The aims of this study were to (i) assess the feasibility and outcomes of a 12-week healthy living programme piloted in a community adult mental health setting and (ii) assess the lead author’s research and evaluation competency as part of the conditions of the Psychology Supervised Practice Programme. Participants were referred to the programme to learn and develop healthy living skills, assist in weight management, and enhance emotional wellbeing.  The programme included weekly educational sessions followed by an activity related to the education for 3-4 hours, between June-September 2010. The programme facilitators completed assessments with participants at Week 1 (baseline) and Week 12 (graduation) including; demographic and physical health indicators (e.g. weight, BMI, blood pressure), psychological wellbeing and overall satisfaction with programme. Seventeen participants commenced the healthy living programme pilot. There was an average weekly attendance of eleven people and nine graduated at Week 12. No meaningful change in physical health or psychological wellbeing could be determined from the measurements at 12 weeks however the graduates rated the programme highly, particularly the social perspective and healthy eating skills. This feasibility assessment of the HLP pilot illustrates the difficulties inherent in real-world service-based research but also highlights the potential benefits for future replication of the HLP for enhancing both physical health and quality of life for people with a serious mental illness.


Key words: physical health, community mental health, healthy living, evaluation, group programme


Community mental health, evaluation, group programme, healthy living, person-centered healthcare, physical health

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